Thursday, February 03, 2011

Haarp: The Filth (2010)


Haarp is a New Orleans sludge/doom band on Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records, and anyone who's followed my reviews will know I'm a big fan of the style. The Filth is their first full-length.

The FilthSludge/doom has had an increase in popularity generally, with the Atlanta and New Orleans scenes generating a lot of interest. The problem with this state of affairs is that you get a lot more of the bad with the good. Haarp is some of the bad. Their sound is a lot like Kingdom of Sorrow or Crowbar, but slower. It's heavy, slow, simple music with the occasional guitar solo. The vocals are in the tough guy hardcore style, with a lot of drawn-out growls--in other words, almost exactly like Jamey Jasta's work with KoS. The guitar tone is almost exactly the same as well.

None of that is necessarily a bad thing. But when your riffs are uninspired and boring, well, that is a bad thing. There are a few passable tracks, like the opener, but not a single riff on here is memorable. All of it tends to run together into an hour-long blur of vapid, going-through-the-motions sludge. Think about how idiotically stupid Hatebreed is. Now, imagine it at half the speed, and with dark lyrics instead of circle-jerking hardcore buddy punk lyrics. Voila, you have Haarp. Still idiotically stupid, so it's not going to get all the bearded sludge types on board, but now it doesn't have the adrenaline rush to appeal to the shaved-head hardcore types.

The Verdict: You could do a whole hell of a lot better than buy this album. And this is the problem with Anselmo--he likes hardcore too much, and he'll release an album for somebody he likes even if they aren't any good. For something a lot better in a (slightly) similar style I'd go with Cough or Salome. I give The Filth 1 out of 5 stars.


  1. Speaking of sludge/doom, Weedeater's new album "Jason... The Dragon" comes out the first of next month. I haven't checked out "The Filth" and your description makes me think I don't want to, but I'm looking forward to the new Weedeater.

  2. I haven't listened to them, but they come highly recommended. I may have to get that album.

  3. By the way, I just checked out your profile and I see that you're a fan of retrofuturism, steampunk, and beards. I may have to pick your brain on the first two of those (I love old-school sci-fi, because the future used to be so much cooler), but perhaps you've heard of Wondermark? There's a link in the left sidebar. If you haven't heard of it, I think you'll be interested. He scans engravings from Victorian era publications and turns them into comics. Last I knew he had a taxonomy of beards poster in the web store, too.

  4. Thanks, I'll have to check that out. And I totally agree, we really dropped the ball on making the 2000s look as cool as people used to expect.

    In that vein, Jeff de Boer has done some interesting metalwork that warrants taking a look: